Owner Dr Marwan Koukash has added Angel Gabrial’s name to his Melbourne Cup 2014 team along with Mount Athos after the former’s Newcastle win over the weekend in Britain.
Dr Koukash has brought his smart Montjeu gelding Mount Athos to Victoria for the past two spring carnivals with the galloper contesting the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington twice.
In 2012 they ran an eye-catching fifth behind Green Moon when prepared by Luca Cumani and then 12 months later returned when third to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente from barrier 22 of 24 in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Mount Athos is now prepared by Marco Botti and is set for a third shot at Melbourne Cup glory, the now seven-year-old paying $26 in the futures markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Angel Gabrial is yet to be added to those pre-nomination Melbourne Cup odds but could soon be in the mix after connections indicated the November 4 feature was on the cards.
A five-year-old son of Irish sire Hurricane Run, Angel Gabrial has been in top form this campaign winning two of their past three starts.
The five-year-old earned their Melbourne Cup consideration over the weekend then running away to defeat the fellow Dr Koukash-owned Suegioo in the Northumberland Plate (3236m) by an easy three and a half lengths.
It was a nice turn-around from the winner after the Botti-trained chestnut Suegioo got the better of them by half a length the run before in the Chester Cup (3755m).
While yet to be stepped up to stakes company in their 22 starts to date, the former Ian Williams-trained stayer only saw the mile and a half, and over, this time in and has been a revelation for their new Malton-based trainer Richard Fahey.
The galloper then must get their rating up enough to earn a Melbourne Cup start, something Koukash will work on over the coming months.
“I think Angel Gabrial can win a Group race now, he’s won that easily off 96,” Koukash told Racing UK.
“We’ll definitely think about Melbourne because he handles all types of ground.
“He’s not far off the rating needed.”
Fahey was also keen to see the galloper make the cut for the capacity 24-starter Melbourne Cup field.
“Whether he’d get in, I don’t know, but I’d love to have a runner out there, he’s that sort of horse,” he said.
Next start Angel Gabrial was likely to face Suegioo again with the pair headed towards a possible run in either the Goodwood Cup or the Ebor Handicap.
As for Mount Athos, the galloper was last seen winning the Listed JLT Aston Park Stakes (2670m) at Newbury in May.
While they’ve gone straight into the Melbourne Cup over the past two years, this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival trainer Botti is looking at a lead-up run in the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
Caulfield Cup betting is a wide open affair at this early stage but Mount Athos isn’t currently listed in the futures markets.
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